Drip vs. immersion cold brew: What's the difference?

By Shannon Sweeney — / Death Wish Coffee Blog

What's the difference between drip and immersion cold brew? 

When it's 80+ degrees outside, there's nothing I want more than a tall glass of cold brew. We all know that regular iced coffee simply just doesn't cut it anymore when you're looking for a strong brew to sip on a hot day.

With the popularity in cold brew the last few years comes a lot of different brew methods. This can get confusing if you're learning how to make it at home or if you're just trying to up your coffee knowledge. But don't worry, we're here to help! 

There are two main ways people make cold brew coffee: Immersion and drip. Let's take a look at the benefits of each and how they differ. 

Immersion cold brew

Most people who make cold brew at home use the immersion cold brew method. It's super easy, and damn, is it delicious. 

When you brew with this method, you take coarsely ground coffee beans, add it to fresh, filtered water under 40 degrees Fahrenheit and let it steep for 24 hours in your fridge. The cold water extracts solids, oils, acids, and the other things we love about coffee in a slow manner, giving us a strong, smooth, flavorful taste. 

[Read more: The best damn cold brew recipe out there]

Once the 24 hours is up, you simply filter out the grounds and enjoy. Since this method is super flexible, you can use a number of different containers — we used a mason jar and paper filter in our cold brew recipe, but you can also use a French press or a cold brew pot. 

Drip cold brew

Drip cold brew is when you filter cold water through coarse coffee grounds and let it drip into your coffee maker — think of brewing coffee in a Chemex, but using cold water instead. 

This method is a little more hands-on because you have to add more water as you go, whereas with immersion cold brew you simply add the grounds and put it in the fridge. But it's quicker than a traditional immersion cold brew — instead of waiting a full 24 hours, you can have cold brew within 3-5 hours. 

We recommend using a Chemex for this type of cold brew.

[Read more: Here's how long you should store cold brew in your fridge]

You can't go wrong with either cold brew method — so go ahead with what sounds best for you! No matter what you choose, your cold brew will be as dark and cold as the black hole where your heart should be. 

Related: 4 different ways to brew iced coffee



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